art ~ jewelry ~ interfaith devotions ~ peace to you...


art in the afternoon: oil pastel resist

An art friend introduced me to an elementary art project using oil pastels and paint to create a resist effect. I drew a collection of simple designs in pencil (that's my speed - simple!), colored them in with oil pastels and painted over the whole thing in a watercolor layer. More than one watercolor shade could be used. I enjoyed learning something new (and simple!). It would be fun to experiment further to enhance the watercolor effect. Even more fun - doing this with my grandkiddies!

Unfortunately I was enjoying myself so much I forgot to snap photos of the process! I have no photos of the "before" watercolor layer. I was living in the moment!


january: Ridván Garden

The last time I posted photos of the Ridván Garden (a Bahá'i Holy Place in Israel) was in May and everything felt very vibrant and alive with color then. This time, in January, even though there were flower blossoms and fruit hanging from the trees, it felt more calm and peaceful. Reflective.


devotions: have faith

sea of Galilee Israel

There is a small green island where one white cow lives alone,
a meadow of an island.

The cow grazes until nightfall, full and fat,
but during the night she panics and grows thin as a single hair.

"What will I eat tomorrow?
There's nothing left!"

By dawn the grass has grown up again, waist-high.
The cow starts eating and by dark the meadow is clipped short.

She is full of strength and energy,
but she panics in the dark as before and grows thin overnight.
The cow does this over and over and this is all she does.

She never thinks,
"This meadow has never failed to grow back.
What should I be afraid every night that it won't?"

The cow is the bodily soul.
The island field is this world where that cow grows lean with fear
and fat with blessing, lean and fat.

White cow,
don't make yourself miserable with what is to come or not to come.

~ Rúmí


art in the afternoon: bead play

A few friends met for an afternoon to create necklaces with beads for the first time, using simple stringing techniques. We talked about color, design elements, balance and expression. Great fun!


photos: stair study

Sometimes I'm so taken with photographing an object or a spot that I take many shots before I've had enough. This staircase is one such instance. Taken today during pilgrimage, on the lower level of the House of Abbud, in Akká Israel.


spinach pastries: super easy

A friend gave me some ready-made puff pastry which I have always wanted to try, with the right recipe... but the pastry label instructions were printed in Hebrew and I didn't have a recipe so it truly was experimental. My favorite kind! Makes me feel like a scientist ;-)

I rummaged around for filling ingredients and I came up with frozen chopped spinach (thawed), crumbled feta cheese and chopped walnuts. Kind of a Greek theme. I added one egg, garlic and the following dried spices: basil, dill and zatar, plus salt and pepper.

This was also the perfect time to try a new pastry tool I found in a local kitchen shop. It cuts the pastry, then holds it while filling, folds it over and pinches it shut. But don't squeeze too hard, yikes!

Here's a visual summary of the steps:

Before popping them in the oven brush each pastry with a little egg wash to make them shine! These were popular at the last potluck party and easy to travel with (especially when walking)!


akká: a mosque and a church

This is part three about my walk around Akká, more commonly known as Acre here in Israel.  Akká goes back to the Early Bronze period, about 3000 BCE and is listed as a World Heritage site. Akká has seen many periods during it's history, including Greek, Judean, Roman-Byzantine, Islamic (Palestine), Crusader, Mamluk, Ottoman, British rule, and finally in 1948 it was captured by Israel and became part of the State.

My friend and I casually walked around without much of a plan other than exploring whatever caught our attention. Looking through my photos afterwards, I thought it was interesting that we stopped at two different houses of worship, a mosque and a church. It would have been nice to have visited a synagogue, which would represent three ancient major religions in the East and illustrates how close all three religious communities exist together.

Our first stop was the Masjid Al-Muallaq Mosque which was built during the Ottoman Era, in 1758, in the courtyard over where an ancient synagogue used to be.

Entry directly from the street

Ablutions before entering the inner room

Entry to the inner room. I was required to wear a head covering. It was very dark inside.

Exit to the street, same door

The minaret tower where I could hear the call to prayer by the muezzin while walking around

St. George's Church, our second location, was just a street or two away. I found a really nice website that has some great photos as well as additional information about the church. I've added the link below.

Entrance to St. George a Greek Orthodox Church

Design inlaid on the floor. I don't know what it might signify.

Main courtyard area. I did follow the staircase up (in the background) and found rooms that might be offices.

I like doors...and I loved the simplicity of this cross.

See Biblewalks for more about St. George's Church.

For information about Akká walking tours or just to get an idea of Akká in a historical sense, visit "The secrets of the city above and the city below".


akká: walking the old city

After our lunch my friend and I wandered through the old stone streets of Akká, which were thankfully not crowded. Some of the photos show how narrow and confining many of the streets are and believe it or not almost all of these streets are used by cars. As a matter of fact, there are very few bicyclists anywhere in Israel, other than group riders on the weekend. I think it's due to the lack of rules on the road. If you're not behind the wheel you may not have any rights at all. At least it feels that way!

Turkish Bathhouse - inside was divine

fancy street sign
Europeans on tour

Interesting street art

The next and final post regarding our Akká walk will be photos of the two religious places we explored. One is Muslim and the other is Christian!
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